Updated: Jul 10, 2020
Animals play an important role in many people’s lives. Aside from designated therapeutic roles, animals are also valued as companions, which can certainly affect the quality of our lives.
1. Pets Improve Your Mood
Have you ever noticed that just being around your pet can make you feel better? You come home after a long day and forget about everything else when you see how happy they are to see you. Whether we’re sad, angry or just plain upset, our pets have a way of making us feel better. Research shows that simply petting our animals can make us feel better. Petting a pet, releases “feel-good chemicals,” including serotonin, oxytocin and prolactin. Simply gazing into their eyes for five minutes increases oxytocin levels in both you and your animal companion, something researchers suggest offers a solid reason as to why humans and pets share such a special bond.
2. Impact on Physical Health
Animals may improve heart health by lowering blood pressure and regulating the heart rate during stressful situations. Studies have shown that having a pet lowered the risk of heart disease, as well as lowering the stress. Children’s exposure to companion animals may also ease anxiety. Social support a pet provides can make a person feel more relaxed and decrease stress. Social support from friends and family can have similar benefits, but interpersonal relationships often cause stress as well, whereas pets may be less likely to cause stress.
3. Pets Encourage Exercise
Need to get out and get more exercise? Having a pet can help. Research shows that people with pets are more active and get more exercise. They also tend to enjoy all the health benefits that go along with a more active lifestyle. What’s more, dog owners are more likely to walk at a faster pace or with more intensity than people who don’t own pets. According to research canine and feline motivate us to exercise. While most pet owners report exercise is for their pet’s benefit instead of focusing on the health benefits they receive from increasing their activity, for example; dogs can be just the motivation one needs to get out and get moving. Researchers note that dogs are a “great strategy used to promote physical activity.”
4. Children’s Emotional Development
When a child has no brothers or sisters, research shows that pets help children develop greater empathy, higher self-esteem, and increased participation in social and physical activities.
5. Pets get you to interact with other people
Pets can help you with your social life! This is particularly true with dog parents due to going out on walks and playing at the public park. People seem to be more inclined to talk if you have a dog with you and the topic of dogs is an excellent icebreaker for conversation starters. Having an interest in animals is a great way to connect with others in social situations and may even help you to overcome your issue with social awkwardness. Not ready to meet new pet people in person? Then go online to social networking sites like or join Facebook groups that are focused specifically on pets and animals.
6. Pets Decrease Feelings of Loneliness
When you have a pet, you’re never truly alone. One of the biggest benefits of having a pet is that they’re your best friend. They listen without judgment, cuddle affectionately and serve as an unwaveringly loyal domestic companion.
7. Pets are natural mood enhancers
There are so many benefits to a human-animal bond that exceeds what is observed on the outside. Pet parents are generally happier, and tend to be more trusting. Companion pets provide you with the positive mental energy.
8. Pets Boost Self-Esteem
Individuals who possess a high sense of self-esteem tend to look at themselves in a more positive manner and experience a higher sense of self-worth. If you suffer from low self-esteem, having a pet could help. Research shows that pet owners are more likely to report having higher self-esteem than people who don’t own pets.
The human-animal bond between children and pets is huge when it comes to increasing self-esteem. Research shows, that both primary- and middle-school-aged children who have pets show higher scores of self-esteem than children that don’t experience this bond.
9. Humans with pets recover more quickly from illnesses
Pet owners have a much higher rate of recovery from being sick than non-pet owners. In fact, humans with fur babies who suffered from heart attacks were twice as likely to fully recover than those without!
10. Pets give you the purpose
It’s said that living with purpose makes it impossible to just exist. Having a sense of purpose is the driving force behind a life filled with meaning and happiness. A pet can help you give this sense of purpose. Taking care of another living being is a huge responsibility and long-term commitment that requires a lot of your time and attention, but a pet offers a sense of purpose unlike much anything else. Think about it. Our pets rely on us for absolutely everything, from getting them water and food to taking them out to exercise. Even the small act of giving treats can instill a sense of purpose and be an affirming and positive experience.